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Sounds simple, right? You have to breathe to live, so why would I need to think about breathing??

I read this quote the other day from Pema Chödrön from the Shambhala Publication and it got me thinking about the importance of breath and how it has helped me in certain situations.

“The key to the tonglen practice is when you feel anything unpleasant, that’s the only way that you understand what other people are going through. So when I feel fear, and I don’t want to feel this anxiety gnawing at me, instead of asking how to get rid of this feeling—this edgy, uncomfortable, nervy, speedy feeling—instead of how to get rid of it, you breathe in.” – Pema Chödrön

Have you ever noticed when you are feeling stressed, anxious or nervous your whole body tenses up? You become this tight ball of shallow breathing. If you stop and breathe deeply into the stress or anxious feelings then your body immediately starts to calm down.

The first time I focused on my breathing was while we were trying to conceive. It was a frustrating time that caused me to feel stressed, but thankfully I found yoga! Yoga focuses on deep, slow breathing. At first it was very hard for me because I was so used to short, shallow breathing. Once I got used to deep breathing I began to incorporate it into my life whenever I was feeling a bit stressed or anxious. It was SO helpful for me.

A more recent example where I incorporated deep breathing was while breastfeeding my son. A few months after I returned to work I started having breastfeeding troubles. I was feeling stressed from going back to work, pumping, breastfeeding and finding my way as a new, working mom. Suddenly, I wasn’t getting the let-down reflex to release the milk.  The longer it took, the more I started to freak out and the more frustrated my son got. Not a good combination! I truly believe that your baby feeds into your emotions. If you are calm, they will be calm. While we were breastfeeding one day I thought back to my yoga practice and started to yoga breathe. Almost instantly, I started to feel calmer, my son began to relax and within a minute I got the let-down reflex. Yoga breathing definitely helped me through multiple breastfeeding sessions!

Take some deep breathes this weekend and relax 🙂